Typical side effects of getting older and chronic conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes, can include losing visual sharpness over time. Recommendations from the American Academy of Ophthalmology for those 65 and older include seeing an eye doctor every year to staying ahead of any issues that could affect vision. But there are a number of other actions you can take to help preserve eyesight. Try these tips:
Pay Attention to Eyesight Changes
Do you suddenly seem to need brighter light to read? Are you squinting more to see people clearly? Do you hesitate over walking up or down stairs or escalators when you didn’t before? These could all be symptoms of an eye problem that needs attention. See your eye care specialist immediately if you experience these symptoms.
Wear Sunglasses Outdoors
Protect your eyes from UV radiation damage and wear sunglasses whenever you are outdoors. Choose sunglasses that block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Pick a pair that is comfortable to wear and provides as much coverage as possible (oversized and wrap-around styles are a great choice).
Make Exercise a Regular Activity
The better your general well-being, the healthier your eyes will be. Regular exercise can help reduce the risk of eye diseases. For example, cardio workouts increase blood flow to the eyes and also lowers intraocular pressure. Recommendations from the American Academy of Ophthalmology for a healthier lifestyle include 30 minutes of exercise daily.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and More
It’s important to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels. If these levels are not balanced, you risk a potential increase of developing vision problems. If you notice any changes in your levels, consult your eye doctor as soon as possible.
Eat for Your Eyes’ Sake
What you eat can also protect your eyesight and ward off age-related vision problems. During meal planning, remember to include ingredients that have vitamins C and E, zeaxanthin, zinc and lutein. Those food that contain an abundance of those vitamins include vegetable oils, dark leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, citrus fruits and cold-water fish such as cod, haddock and hake.
Take a Break from the Computer Screen
Looking at a computer or smartphone screen at arms’ length or closer for long periods of time will result in eye strain, blurred vision, dry eyes and more. To combat the problem, make sure screens are at least 20 to 26 inches away and take a break from looking at a screen every 20 minutes.
You already know that smoking cigarettes is bad for your overall health. But it also affects eyesight, including increasing the risk for cataracts and age-related macular degeneration according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Aging is inevitable, but vigilant eye care can help prolong your eyesight.
One of the benefits of living in an Embark community is we can help you get to eye doctor appointments. Learn more here.